Microsoft's Xbox One will soon gain access to 104 million potential customers courtesy of a deal with mobile carrier China Telecom.
China Telecom will be Microsoft's exclusive partner in introducing the Xbox One to China in September as it begins selling the console to customers who subscribe to its broadband service, the carrier said Thursday. The deal is a potential boon for both China Telecom and Microsoft.
For 13 years, China banned sales of foreign-made game consoles, claiming that the devices caused harm to the mental health of children. Many consoles found their way into the hands of customers via the black market. When the ban was lifted in January, Microsoft needed a way to financially tap into potential gamers in China. The deal with China's Telecom gives Microsoft access to 104 million broadband subscribers.
The exact launch date and price of the console have yet to be determined, a spokesman for China Telecom told Reuters. In the US, the Xbox One with Kinect retails for $500. In a bid to spur sales, Microsoft released a Kinect-less version of the console in June with a price tag of $400.
But a picture leaked by Chinese website WPDang shows the price of the console in China at 3,499 Chinese Yuan or RMB ($565). That price actually includes the tax, according to WPCentral, and throws in three games and a couple of coupons.
The Xbox One will be the first gaming console to debut in China since the ban was lifted, Reuters said. Microsoft is working with Chinese Internet TV set-top box maker BesTV New Media to manufacture the consoles in Shanghai's Free Trade Zone.
"Launching Xbox One in China is a significant milestone for us and for the industry," Yusuf Mehdi, a Microsoft corporate vice president, said in April.
Update, 8:30 a.m. PT:Adds details on leaked image from Chinese site WPDang.